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The Book of Kells (Doctor Who) by Barnaby…

The Book of Kells (Doctor Who) (edition 2010)

by Barnaby Edwards

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162615,960 (3.21)None
Title:The Book of Kells (Doctor Who)
Authors:Barnaby Edwards
Info:Big Finish Productions Ltd (2010), Audio CD
Collections:Audios, Read but unowned

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The Book of Kells by Barnaby Edwards



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In this month's adventure, Barnaby Edwards plunges the TARDIS into medieval Ireland, where everyone is getting tremendously excited about the Book of Kells, a new gospel being produced at a monastery in Kells. It was not completely clear to me why everyone is so excited about it, but within moments of landing, the Eighth Doctor and Tamsin have already heard of one plot to steal it, and decide it's probably their obligation to stop it-- especially if whoever is stealing it also has the capacity to pull TARDISes and vortisaurs right out of the space-time vortex.

The Book of Kells could just be your typical historical romp, like season three's The Beast of Orlok (also by Edwards), but there are two twists, both relating to the ongoing plots of the season, which drastically altered how I reacted to the story. Everyone will probably always talk about the twists in this story, and I think it's justified, because once you remove them, you have pretty much a bog-standard runaround. But the problem is that-- for me at least-- the twists exist in such a state of wait-and-see-how-they-affect-future-stories, that it's nearly impossible to know whether I actually like the story or not. Without it the twists, it's just another average entry in the range. With them, it could be great... or it might turn out to be horribly, horribly misguided. Please don't let me down, Big Finish.

You can read a longer version of this review at Unreality SF.
  Stevil2001 | Sep 30, 2010 |
It's very rare for Doctor Who to visit Ireland - the only other story set there of which I am aware is Simon Guerrier's Seventh Doctor audio, The Settling, which took a measured look at Cromwell's campaign. So I was looking forward to The Book of Kells as another Whovian take on my home territory, not worrying too much about whether it was any good.

The setting is Kells, Co Meath, in the year 1006; the plot is basically people running around after the famous Book, trying alternately to steal it and to prevent its theft, which gets a little pointless by the end - though in fact the real point of the play is two big reveals, one at the end of each episode, the first of which I should really have seen coming, and the second of which I might have spotted if I'd looked more carefully at the CD cover.

The Irish setting is not developed in huge detail, and I doubt if it would pass muster with anyone who knows more than I do about the period. King Sitric of Dublin apparently has jurisdiction over the Kells monastery, which I suspect is not really accurate. Terence Hardiman and Graeme Garden are rather delightful as King Sitric and the abbot. The new companion, alas, really doesn't gel for me as yet. Though the ending of the story hints that she may be supplanted before long. Let's hope.
  nwhyte | Sep 15, 2010 |
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